BRISTOL BASED Milbury Systems is expanding its Gloucester factory to meet demand for its Karapace precast retaining walls.
Karapace was conceived as a wall panel and trough, but adding another shorter, flatter, trough-shaped unit has increased its versatility.
Central to the system's success are joints linking the trough and panel units and allowing a variety of orientations. Steel rods dropped into the joint holes form the connections. For permanent installations, these are grouted up, but for temporary demountable structures such as winter fl ood defences, the joints are sealed in other ways so disassembly is quick and easy.
Milbury building consultant Nigel Maydew explained how retaining walls, culverts, jetties, towpaths, railway platforms, temporary security barriers and motorway safety barriers could be built up using the system.
Maydew said: 'All these applications share the same benefits:
on normal ground, no foundations are needed, and erection is simple and quick.' Another bonus is that in its retaining wall application, the system can be set up to offer a range of planters robust enough to be used for trees. The first retaining wall to feature tree planting has just been installed two units high at a business park in Warwickshire.
The biggest Karapace contract to date has been at the Tredegar Business Park in Landover, south Wales, where it has been used one unit high to stabilise a slate waste scree looming over a new lorry park.
Milbury sales director Brian Mees added that the railway sector is also signalling strong interest in the Karapace system.
The main attraction is that almost any suitable materials to hand can be used as backfill - a considerable benefit given the access problems many railway projects face.